The pound is the currency of Jersey. Jersey is in currency union with the United Kingdom, but issues its own banknotes and coins. Both Jersey and Bank of England notes are legal tender in Jersey and circulate together, alongside the Guernsey pound and Scottish banknotes. Although the Jersey notes are not legal tender in the United Kingdom, creditors and traders may accept them if they wish.
The livre was the currency of Jersey until 1834. It consisted of French coins which, in the early 19th century, were exchangeable for sterling at a rate of 26 livres to the pound. After the livre was replaced by the franc in France in 1795, the supply of coins in Jersey dwindled leading to difficulties in trade and payment.
In 1833, an Order in Council adopted the pound sterling as Jersey's sole official legal tender, although French copper coins continued to circulate alongside British silver coins, with 26 sous equal to the shilling. Because the sous remained the chief small-change coins, when a new copper coinage was issued for Jersey in 1841, it was based on a penny worth one-thirteenth of a shilling, the equivalent of 2 sous. This system continued until 1877, when a penny of a twelfth of a shilling was introduced.
Along with the rest of the British Isles, Jersey decimalised in 1971 and began issuing a full series of circulating coins from ½p to 50p. £1 and £2 denominations followed later. As of December 2005, there was £64.7m of Jersey currency in circulation. A profit of £2.8m earned on the issue of Jersey currency was received by the Treasurer of the States in 2005.
In 1841, copper 1/52, 1/26 and 1/13 shilling coins were introduced, followed by bronze 1/26 and 1/13 shilling in 1866. In 1877, with the switch to 12 pence to the shilling, bronze 1/48, 1/24 and 1/12 shilling were introduced. This was the only issue of the 1/48 shilling denomination.
In 1957 a nickel-brass 3d coin was introduced carrying the denomination "one fourth of a shilling". The 1957 and 1960 issues were round, with a dodecagonal version introduced in 1964.
In 1968, 5d and 10d coins were introduced, followed ½p, 1p and 2p in 1971 when decimalisation took place. All had the same composition and size as the corresponding British coins. A 20p coin was introduced in 1982, followed by a £1 coin in 1983 and £2 in 1998. The ½p coin was last minted in 1981.
Until 1831 a large number of bodies and individuals in Jersey issued their own banknotes. The parishes issued notes, as did the Vingtaine de la Ville. Legislation in 1831 attempted to regulate such issues, but the parishes and the Vingtaine de la Ville were exempted from the regulatory provisions. Most of the notes were £1 denominations, although at least one £5 issue was made. These locally produced notes, which were often issued to fund public works, ceased to be issued after the 1890s.
During the German Occupation a series of banknotes designed by Edmund Blampied was issued by the States of Jersey in denominations of 6d, 1s, 2s, 10s and £1. The States have issued a regular series of banknotes since 1963. The first issue consisted of denominations of 10s, £1 and £5 with a £10 pound note introduced in 1972. £20 pound notes followed in 1976 and £0 pounds in 1989. Despite the introduction of a £1 coin, the £1 pound note continues to circulate.
Early 19th century problems for the States
From an 1817 guidebook to Jersey by William Pleese
The coin current in Jersey was, until lately, chiefly that of France, with a small proportion of Spanish money. The usual amount of specie in circulation has been estimated at nearly £80,000 sterling. After the French revolution the coin of England became more generally into use, until the increased value of gold and silver completely drained the island of all specie but copper, and even that became scarce. There were, at this period, three regular banking houses in the town of St Helier.
These, and a few mercantile men, were accustomed to issue notes, payable to the bearer on demand, for 24 livres French currency, or £1 sterling. So great, however, and so increasing were the inconveniences occasioned by the almost total disappearance of silver, that those houses were obliged to issue notes of five and ten shillings. This induced individuals to do the same, all having 'Jersey Bank' on their notes, from the value of £1 down to that of one shilling, many of them issued by the lowest description of traders and publicans. Alarming as this undoubtedly was, necessity have to these notes a general and ready circulation.
Seriously aware of the ultimate consequences likely to result from this unrestrained emission of paper money, the States resolved to have a silver coin struck. Accordingly a quantity of tokens was issued, bearing the value of three shillings, and of eighteen pence English, to the amount of £19,000 sterling.
About the value of £2,000 sterling has been added. The States have since made an act, whereby every person issuing notes payable to bearer, is to have a regular office for the payment of them in the town of St Helier. In consequence of this regulation, many have withdrawn their notes from circulation. The rapidly increasing eveil is thus checked, but the public security will probably render stricter measures necessary.
The issuing of notes under sum of £1 sterling was then forbidden, yet such apprehensions respecting the notes still in circulation were excited among the country inhabitants that those who attended the market hoarded all the coin and tokens they could procure. This was at least the reason assigned and generally believed for the disappearance in a few months of nearly all the newly coined silver. The scarcity still continues, though not in the same degree.
Jersey has issued two commemorative £1 banknotes. In 1995 a special note commemorating the 50th anniversary of Liberation of Jersey was issued. In 2004, a special edition £1 note was introduced to mark the 800th anniversary of the island’s split from Normandy in 1204 and the design includes Mont Orgueil castle.